Relating Coalition Capacity to the Adoption of Science-Based Prevention in Communities: Evidence from a Randomized Trial of Communities That Care

  • Valerie B. ShapiroEmail author
  • Sabrina Oesterle
  • J. David Hawkins
Original Article


Coalition-based efforts that use a science-based approach to prevention can improve the wellbeing of community youth. This study measured several coalition capacities that are hypothesized to facilitate the adoption of a science-based approach to prevention in communities. Using data from 12 coalitions participating in a community-randomized trial of the prevention strategy Communities That Care (CTC), this paper describes select measurement properties of five salient coalition capacities (member substantive knowledge of prevention, member acquisition of new skills, member attitudes toward CTC, organizational linkages, and influence on organizations), as reported by coalition members, and examines the degree to which these capacities facilitated the community leader reports of the community-wide adoption of a science-based approach to prevention. Findings indicated that the five coalition capacities could be reliably measured using coalition member reports. Meta-regression analyses found that CTC had a greater impact on the adoption of a science-based prevention approach in 12 matched pairs of control and CTC communities where the CTC coalition had greater member (new skill acquisition) and organizational capacities (organizational linkages).


Communities that care Prevention Coalition Capacity Adoption Evidence–based practice 



This work was supported by a research grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01 DA015183-01A1) with co-funding from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and training grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (T32 MH20012) and the Society for Social Work and Research. The content of this paper is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies. The authors wish to acknowledge the contributions of the communities participating in the Community Youth Development Study and the thoughtful manuscript review by Dr. Peter Pecora.


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Copyright information

© Society for Community Research and Action 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerie B. Shapiro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sabrina Oesterle
    • 2
  • J. David Hawkins
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social WelfareUniversity of California at BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Social Development Research Group, School of Social WorkUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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